Mia Andric – Technology Journalist, June 2015
Winning the CX race bears an uncanny resemblance to racing a Tour de France champion team. With the Tour de France 2015 upon us we look behind the scenes at the work and preparation of a champion cycling team and how these principles can be applied to build a winning CX program.
While most companies and individuals focus on the big picture in order to see any gaps, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference. When Dave Brailsford set out to ensure a Tour de France win for Team Sky in 2010, he concentrated on the small things in order to make a big difference, and two years later Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France.
Using a concept he called the Aggregation of Marginal Gains (AMG), Brailsford focused on a “1 percent margin for improvement in everything” in order to add those gains into a substantial improvement. Starting with things like the ergonomics of the bike seats and taking it as far as the pillows the team slept on, Brailsford found marginal gains wherever he could and translated them into what many call the most successful run in modern cycling history.
AMG is proving to be just as effective in business, particularly in customer experience. The reason? Those companies that focus on achieving high velocity marginal gains in customer experience are outperforming in every CX metric than those who focus on one or more silver bullets. The empirical data to prove this is undeniable and consistent across our client data.
It’s all about the results. By finding and developing the marginal gains available at every customer touch point that makes up the customer journey, it’s not only easy to extrapolate a perfect user experience, but allows for the strategic engagement with customers that will lead to growth. Rather than looking for a silver bullet for customer experience, the AMG approach uses a lot of gains in a lot of areas to yield fantastic results.
The key is the tight feedback loop cycle. Having the right views of the business, by the right people, enables the right insights and interventions at every level. By engaging with a broad range of customers over a long time, accessing smarter ways to track them across all channels, and using the identified gains to create huge improvements, companies that are following this approach have seen tangible business outcomes.
As with Team Sky, accessing the marginal gains rests on their identification. Starting with our Voice-of-the-Customer (VoC) platform and program, which monitors customer feedback on a daily basis and offers a unified view of the customer, focus areas or themes can be identified based on the gains they will generate. The marginal gains achieved in this way can be turned into a frontline business focus that will guarantee improved customer experience.
This approach uses the 80/20 rule, where 80% of customer complaints during any review period (i.e. typical week/s) can be grouped into a small number of root-causes. In the case of customer experience, we see time and time again that 80% of the poor customer experience comes from a problematic 20% of the business, and by having an overview of which themes are causing the problem, marginal gains can be identified in each and solutions designed to seize them.
And, just like with Team Sky’s success, identifying and capitalising on these opportunities is a team effort. Shared insights and solutions are essential, as is peloton-like co-ordination. By working as a team, looking for solutions, and meeting on a regular basis – in a highly governed and orchestrated CX program – distinguishing which areas will have the most significant impact on customer satisfaction, and improving on them, becomes standard operating procedure.
By leveraging AMG, the complex set of interdependencies that Forrester calls the customer experience ecosystem become easily visible and can be acted on appropriately.
“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”– Vince Lombardi.